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Saturday, November 20, 2021
November 20, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:33 PM :: 1478 Views

COVID-19 regulations aren’t cost-free

'Certificate of Need' stands in way of improving healthcare in Hawaii

NOAA considers new marine sanctuary off Hawaiian Islands

Mindless Hysteria: Maui County Council Passes Anti-Sunscreen Bill

Maui County Will Not Appeal Injection Well Ruling

Media bamboozled by more of the rail “smoke and mirrors” treatment

ILind: … Hanabusa, who chairs the HART board, made a news splash as compliant reporters jumped on her optimistic but unsupported assertions that a projected $3.5 billion (with a “B”) budget shortfall could be as “little” as $2 billion. And did this dramatic financial announcement mean that HART has finally taken steps to adapt its plans to its actual financial circumstances?

No such luck.

Hanabusa dismissed the projected $3.5 billion deficit as the product of “conservative” cost estimates, which are now being conveniently jettisoned.

“It’s all based on assumptions, snapshots in time and what we basically believe the amount of income will be that’s coming in, ” she said, according to a story in the Honolulu Advertiser.

Of course, these “new” estimates don’t reflect any change in the plans, including any of the alternatives identified earlier, such as a possible termination at an earlier point rather than continuing to Ala Moana Center. And there was no presentation of the “new” assumptions that have apparently fueled Hanabusa’s talk of a reduced deficit, so these assumptions have not been vetted or evaluated objectively and publicly, not even examined and discussed thoroughly by the HART board itself….

For those with short memories, Hanabusa had been pre-selected by a small group of HART insiders to receive a contract to represent the board. It was even repeatedly referred to as “Colleen’s contract” as they drafted specifications tailored specifically to fit Hanabusa and only Hanabusa, a move that came dangerously close to a classic case of illegal bid rigging. When it became a public issue, Hanabusa turned down the contract, and was almost immediately named to a position on the HART board, and again immediately elected chair….

read … Media bamboozled by more of the rail “smoke and mirrors” treatment

Public financing for replacing Aloha Stadium not set yet--Legislators may Approve even More Money

SA: … When three development teams receive requests next month to submit proposals for replacing Aloha Stadium, they may find that only a portion of $170 million in state funding is available for the estimated $400 million project.

The state Department of Accounting and General Serv­ices has not yet decided how much of the appropriation from the Legislature granted earlier this year will be made available for building a new stadium to replace the state’s 46-year-old “rust palace” in Halawa.

It’s possible that some of the taxpayer funding will be made available to other developers vying to compete for a separate but related DAGS project to redevelop 73 acres around the stadium’s 25-acre footprint where parking mainly exists today….

It’s also possible lawmakers could provide more taxpayer money next year for one or both of the public- private-partnership projects, which together are expected to cost over $2 billion.

The Legislature originally authorized up to $350 million for what was previously envisioned as one project to replace the stadium and redevelop surrounding land with homes, restaurants, retail, hotel rooms, office space and other commercial uses forming a New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District.

Then after DAGS divided NASED in two pieces last year, lawmakers cut public funding by just over half.

On Wednesday, DAGS notified three development teams, which were selected last December as the best qualified to take on NASED as one project, that they would receive a detailed request Dec. 15 to submit proposals for the stadium replacement project….

Chris Kinimaka, public works administrator for DAGS, said all three teams have confirmed they remain interested in building a new stadium….  

SA Editorial: Build community next to stadium  

read … Public financing for replacing Aloha Stadium not set yet

DoE Burning $400M--Massive COVID relief money accomplishes absolutely nothing

KHON: … Federal COVID relief packages take the ABC’s and 1-2-3’s of education to the next level with an alphabet soup of huge dollar-figure rescue funds.

“This congressional money was first put in there to help safely reopen our schools,” explained Terrence George, president and CEO of the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation. “And second, to address the yawning learning loss and all the inequities that have been laid bare all over Hawaii and all across the nation in the world due to this pandemic.”

Always Investigating analyzed the five different major grants totaling nearly $421 million. Only about one-third has been spent. A quarter billion dollars — $251 million to be exact — is sitting on the books.

The DOE has posted monthly updates with outlines of how they would like to spend the money but huge swaths of it are earmarked in to-be-determined generic categories or covering line items of past budget shortfalls. Among the biggest set-asides are:

$65 million for teacher pay differentials

$54 million for legislative cuts

Tens of millions for the weighted student formula, a longtime school funding mechanism

Just two of the top five allotment categories — $31 million for distance learning and $27 million for food — relate directly to coronavirus pandemic issues…

Big Q: How serious is it that two-thirds of public school first through eighth graders are at least one to two grades behind on math and English?

read … Massive school relief money short on targeting and transparency

AntiVaxxers Needed 22,000 Signatures to Recall Maui Mayor--Only Got 3,000 

MN: … Organizers of the effort to recall Mayor Michael Victorino are scheduled today to turn in what they hope to be nearly 22,000 signatures needed to initiate the recall process.

As of Friday morning, organizers had counted about 3,000 signatures from approximately 75 of the 500 clipboards held by individuals who were seeking out the signatures from around the island, said lead organizer Sheila Walker.

(Translation: They didn’t get anybody to circulate the other 425.)

“I do think we (will) have enough,” Walker said Friday as organizers continued to collect and tally clipboards….

Walker urged those with the clipboards to turn them in by 2 p.m. today at Maui Pack and Ship in Kahului, as organizers will need to deliver them notarized to the County Clerk’s Office at 4 p.m. She added that signatures will also be accepted at the business until 3 p.m….

(Translation: Without even looking at the signatures, they are going to throw whatever garbage they have collected at the County Clerk -- and then cry ‘fraud.’)

Walker estimated that about 90 percent of individuals they encountered in the last month had sought out the recall group. 

(Translation: The antivaxxers did not approach the general public because the antivaxxers know they are hated.)

read … Mayor recall organizers face deadline today

UH Marine Biologists Push Back Against Sunscreen Fear Campaign

SA: … The Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology has studied the nature preserve prior to and during the pandemic. The institute’s Kuulei Rodgers said in a statement that there are very few monk seals and turtles at Hana­uma Bay, possibly one or two at most at a time.

“There is no strong evidence to state sunscreens threaten coral reefs,” she said. “Our coral reef ecology lab has not seen the effects of sunscreen use on bleaching in our monitoring efforts.”

Rodgers added that coral reefs in the outer bay are in excellent condition compared to the rest of the state as a counterpoint to the possibility of beach showers as a source of sunscreen chemical pollution.

“If there were effects from sunscreen it would be evident,” she said in her statement. “We have evidence in the various reports that the inner reef with low coral cover is directly related to the number of visitors, not sunscreen. The corals growing on vertical surfaces, in deeper areas, and in the lower use sectors like Witches Brew are in good condition.”

DPR said the beach showers at Hanauma Bay drain into ground wells, and staff have not observed water from showers draining directly into the ocean….

MN: First Non-Chemical Sunscreen Dispenser in a Hawai‘i State Park Installed at Hāpuna

REALITY: Chemical Company Behind Anti-Sunscreen Campaign

read … Sunscreen chemicals still found at Hanauma, study says

Man accused of sexually assaulting minors while on release in 2018 murder case

HNN: … A 25-year-old man accused in a high-profile 2018 murder has been indicted for allegedly sexually assaulting two young girls while he was on supervised release.

Kaniala Avilla-Rapoza was indicted by a Honolulu grand jury for two counts of third-degree sex assault. Prosecutors say he inappropriately touched two young girls at a relative’s home.

“He was sitting on a couch with these two minor children,” deputy Prosecuting Attorney Lisa DeMello said. DeMello said the incident happened Oct. 30, and the girls were ages 7 and 9.

DeMello said Avilla-Rapoza allegedly touched both girls under their panties….

“The two children ran into the house to tell one of their uncles what had happened and they reported this incident to the police,” DeMello said.

Avilla-Rapoza was on supervised release pending an ongoing murder case from 2018. He’s accused of fatally choking 19-year-old Nelibeth Albert, his high school sweetheart.

According to police, he then led investigators to her body, which was covered by brush in Wahiawa Freshwater State Park.

Shortly after the alleged murder, family members told Hawaii News Now that the two had met in the special education program at Leilehua High School….

read … Man accused of sexually assaulting minors while on release in 2018 murder case

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